Hailing from the evergreen Pacific Northwest, Michael Henchman’s thoughtful, imagery-rich songwriting often draws inspiration from roads less traveled that have beckoned since childhood – living across the U.S., in Europe, and many years in central Alaska – to create a contemporary sound that is at once warm and reminiscent. His music has been described as “progressive folk, mixed with redwoods, diners, grassy plains, a dash of longing, and a bit of road dust for texture.” His experiences instilled a deep fascination with open landscapes and with how the heart becomes entangled by time and distance.
“It is in these quieter places that what is true and real becomes more apparent,” Michael says. “One can feel the unbroken connection to the pulse of life.”
Michael’s latest recording “Near and Far” is a mostly-acoustic album, continuing to explore characters finding their footing along wayward paths. He paints both the tangible and the elusive – what is perceived directly and what is laid across a wider cinematic canvas, waiting to unfold. He is currently working on his next full-band record project.
He began writing songs early, falling under the music spell of an eclectic range of artists in folk, jazz, funk, gospel, and the long-form orchestral compositions of prog-rock, eventually being inspired by the work of such insightful writers as Jackson Browne, John Gorka, David Wilcox, Shawn Colvin, Richard Shindell, and Dave Carter.
As part of his travels, Michael headed to Alaska to work as a pipe laborer during the early days of the TransAlaska Pipeline construction. The project was, in many ways, like the Gold Rush era of 80 years prior… people wending their way north to work hard, chasing their dreams, sometimes losing it all. The wild was always just over one’s shoulder, waiting for both the hardy and the foolish to test their mettle and their luck. Michael was inspired by the certainty and continuity of which life hangs on in such an unusual place.
Over the years, Michael has performed in various folk, rock-n-roll and jazz bands – as bassist, vocalist, and guitarist – and he has also composed instrumental music for several public television programs about Alaska. He continues to search for stories from the many places that people call home. Whether performing solo or with full backing band, Michael brings a sense of emotional truth to his songs and to the ongoing theme of ‘roads less traveled’.
“Pure Americana magic… full of cautionary tales and a passion for life… narrative lyrics and sincere performances [from] an artist who embraces each moment.” – Gashouse Radio